Bob Forsyth – Have we come to expect public disorder?

Bob Forsyth
Bob Forsyth, the Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management (TSM)

Bob Forsyth, the Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management (TSM) introduces his fourth blog on by asking if we have come to expect public disorder? Bob writes; Happy New Year to you all, here’s to a prosperous 2012.

As I made my way down to the River Thames on New Year’s Eve along with 250,000 others I thought about what would happen if the mood weren’t so positive; how vulnerable are we if a crowd turns violent and what does it take these days for a hostile situation to occur?

Thankfully everyone was in good spirits, but it is a sign of our times that we anticipate antisocial behaviour and are anxious amongst large public groups.

The knock on effect of the economic conditions is increasing unemployment particularly amongst the younger generation and the forming of protest groups such as the anti-capitalism group at St Pauls, unhappily I predict that public disorder will become a bigger issue in the future and if public disorder is a new norm in our society what part can the security industry play in protecting people and property and avoiding major disruption particularly this year with the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee.

Public disorder may not always be as serious as the riots we saw last July but can take the form of trespassing, loitering, disturbing the peace, or sleeping on or around a business’ property. It is important that we support clients to understand what types of public disorder are problematic and whether there is a particular time of day or week that is more vulnerable.

It is critical for security professionals to understand the risks and potential impact of public disorder in order to be aware of the potential for similar occurrences; this will enable them to plan ahead and have resilience measures in place. Front line security personnel should also be trained to spot the signs of public disorder, repeat offenders and known criminals. Over 76% of those who appeared before the courts for the July riots had a previous caution or conviction.

We can also not underestimate the power of social media in amassing wide-spread following. Social media is a prevalent communications channel that is instant and far reaching. Personnel in the industry must make use of every channel in order to evaluate the risks and threats.

Working in collaboration with police and having good links with local authorities, will also help promote the sharing of information; allowing communities to build resilience and future-proof their people, buildings and assets from the devastating effects of public disorder. The security industry has a significant role to play in channelling information and endorsing best practice, in turn helping the UK achieve some form of resilience against similar events to those we witnessed last summer.

Read Bob’s first blog: Security managers are relevant again in procurement

Read Bob’s second blog: What do we really mean by adding value?

Read Bob’s third blog: Cyber security – is out of sight really out of mind?

Bob Forsyth, the Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management (TSM) has over 15 years’ experience in the service industry. He is a strong relationship builder who is financially astute with excellent negotiation and communication skills, and the ability to work with people at every level. A team player, Bob is able to lead by example.

A member of the Institute of Directors (IOD), Bob has recently completed a Leadership course at Cranfield University. He is a keen advocate of MITIE’s partnership approach and is a champion of the business’ strategic risk-based approach. He sees this as an opportunity to move the business forward, and as such has launched a dedicated security risk and business resilience team since his most recent promotion. He takes every opportunity to promote MITIE’s presence within the industry through his involvement with industry bodies such as City Security and Resilience Networks (CSARN) and the British Security Industry Association (BSIA). Bob is also a member of the RISC (Resilience Industry Suppliers Community) which is the leading business think tank on UK Security advising government on security.

MITIE Total Security Management Website